After the biggest humiliation in the history of Brazilian football, it's difficult to know how many of those players will be able to bounce back from what happened tonight. The crowd boos and barracks them, while their shell-shocked players are consoled and comforted by their German counterparts, who seem a bit dazed and bewildered themselves. They were ruthless tonight, albeit against a team that could scarcely have been worse. To put this in perspective, this is the first time Brazil have lost a competitive game at home in 62 matches, since Peru beat them 3 - 1 in September 30, 1975, Copa America.
Brazil 1: Emboaba Oscar 90
Germany 7: Thomas Muller 11, Miroslav Klose 23, Toni Kroos 24, Toni Kroos 26, Sami Khedira 29, Andre Schurrle 69, Andre Schurrle 79
90+1 min: It's a measure of how downright German the Germans are that Manuel Neuer and his defenders were absolutely furious with each other for allowing Brazil to score that late goal. Moments previously, Mesut Osil had shot a foot or two wide of the upright having been put clean through on goal.
88 min: Paulinho brings a save of sorts out of Manuel Neuer.
85 min: Germany show no mercy, continuing to put the hurt on Brazil with their pass-and-move sorties into the Brazilian half. Brazil's players have had enough - their humiliation is presumably complete when their own fans begin a chorus of "olés" to accompany Germany's relentless passing.
84 min: With the exception of some top drawer pre-match pointing, shirt waving and anthem singing, David Luiz has been shocking tonight. He looks like some hungover git from the Dog & Duck who's won a competition to play in a World Cup semi-final for Brazil. He was once again at fault for that goal, which by my estimation, makes him culpable for no fewer than six of the seven his team has shipped tonight.
76 min: Germany substitution: Sami Khedira off, Julian Draxler on. David Luiz charges out of his half again, mis-kicks the ball completely and starts pointing and shouting at Thomas Muller, who'd been standing nearby. I'm not sure why and David Luiz probably isn't either.
74 min: sitting in the dug-out, the disconsolate Fred is shown on the big screen and another chorus of boos rings around the stadium.
71 min: Brazil susbtitution: Willian is brought on and Fred trudges off to a chorus of boos from the 55,000 strong crowd. Assorted Brazil players are shouting at each other, lots of their fans are crying salty tears and Luis Felipe Scolari is pointing at his eyes, presumably recommending that his players either stay alert (although that ship has sailed) or start showing some obvious signs of tearful contrition if they want to get out of the stadium alive.
68 min: With Schweinsteiger and Schurrle bearing down on him during yet another counter-attack which began with David Luiz losing the ball on the edge of the German penalty area, Julio Cesar charges out of his penalty area to bravely take the ball from the substitute, who looked set to make it 6-0. It's worth bearing in mind, Brazil haven't lost a competitive home game in over 40 years. This is making that 1950 World Cup final humiliation at the hands of Uruguay look a great result.
64 min: Maicon avoids a booking despite blatantly diving in a bid to win a penalty.
63 min: A question: surely Luis Felipe Scolari could walk down to the Copacabana any time of the day, throw a stick and hit somebody who's a better striker than Fred? How does he get in this team? It's unfair to single him out on the basis of a performance in which almost all of his team-mates have been dreadful, but he's been consistently awful throughout this tournament but keeps getting picked.
62 min: Germany carve up Brazil again, once again with Muller waltzing through their defence and attempting to take the ball around Julio Cesar. The goalkeeper dives at Muller's feet to concede a corner, from which he then proceeds to make a splendid save. Germany substitution from a couple of minutes ago: Miroslav Klose off, Andre Schurrle on.
59 min: Rather than play the ball to his team-mate Bernard, who was in a better position on the left-hand side of the penalty area, the wretched Fred shoots weakly from distance, straight at Neuer.
57 min: Germany advance, with the tireless Muller and the occasionally tiresome Ozil combining well down the left-hand side. Muller crosses from the left flank, but Julio Cesar cuts it out.
53 min: Neuer pulls off a sensational double-save off Paulinho, who'd been played through on goal by a dfinked pass over the top by Oscar. He shot straight at the goalkeeper, who blocked with his shins and went to ground, but recovered in time to bat the powerful follow-up from about six yards out for a corner. Brazil have had three decent chances already in this half.
52 min: Great save from Oscar by Manuel Neuer, after the Brazilian midfielder attempts to beat him with a right-footed drive. Now Bernard turns Lahm inside-out on the left flank, cuts inside and wins a corner off Muller.
51 min: Brazil pile forward in search of ... something, apparently oblivious to the fact that it's that sort of tomfoolery that got them into this horrible mess in the first place. Paulinho has looked lively on the fringes of the Germany penalty area, while Oscar has had a penalty claim turned down.
50 min: Brazil back on the attack in the second half here with Ramires and Paulinho providing a bit of stability. Can they get anything back?
49 min: Hulk and Fernandinho have been hauled off, to be replaced by Ramires and Paulinho, who would both probably rather be anywhere else. Germany have replaced Mats Hummels with Per Mertesacker.
After a defensive performance that bad, I for one want to know what Alan Hansen made of this: ""In the annals of time there has never been a game like this," he announced. "A humiliation like this. It is about four levels below rock bottom. It is embarrassing. David Luiz is the captain and he has completely abandoned ship. Someone had to hold this unit together and he has gone missing."
I'd like to think a certain famous Argentinian football player who died yesterday is sniggering away up in heaven, laughing at well his divine retribution has worked in the wake of the host nation foolishly not extending him the courtesy of a minute's silence before kick-off in tonight's match.
45 min: The referee's assistant recommends one minute of additional torture for the home side.
44 min: The ball's swung into the Germany penalty area, where David Luiz leaps highest. He fails to make contact with the ball and Germany run it out of defence again.
43 min: If Brazil were a horse, you'd throw a blanket over them, erect the green screens and do the humane thing. As it is, they've another 48 minutes of this torture to go. They're getting rent asunder here, losing a World Cup semi-final 5-0in their own manner. Their players are distraught and making a mess of everything, while the TV producer here is having an absolute ball picking out wailing Brazilians in the crowd. They win a free-kick wide on the left, about 35 yards from the Germany goal.
39 min: Goals No4 and NO5 were quite similar. Fernandinho messed up again, getting caught in possession about 25 yards out, allowing Germany to rip through them again. Sami Khedira advanced through the ruins of the Brazil defence and rolled the ball to Toni Kroos, who sidefooted home from about 1o yards. No5 was another sidefoot from about 12 yards, again into the bottom left-hand corner. Sami Khedira was the beneficiary of some more preposterously bad Brazil defending.
38 min: Goal No3, then: Germany attacked down the right again, the ball was crossed and Toni Kroos fired crisply into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the penalty area.
35 min: Germany have just carved open Brazil, whose defence has gone so far beyond shambolic slapstick that you feel they might have been better served fielding four of their mascots instead of Messrs Maicon, Luiz, Dante and Marcelo. Kroos volleys from distance, but his effort is deflected about a yard wide of the left upright.
33 min: Anyway, goal No2 ... the ball came across from the right, Fernandinho made a pig's ear of his clearance and toni Kroos squared the ball for Klose. He shot straight at the goalkeeper from six yards, the ball rebounded back to him and he made sure of it the second time to break the scoring record for World Cup finals tournaments.
27 min: Where to start. OK, let's go back to goal No2. Germany were looking dangerous on the counter-attack, controlling midfield and repeatedly exploiting the space in behind Marcelo the full-back. HOld on, I'll get back to you ...
23 min: David Luiz plays a ball over the top for Bernard to chase, but Manuel Neuer is quick off his line to avert the danger.
21 min: Miroslav Kloser spins just outside the penalty area to try to play in Muller. His through-ball ends up being a very weak shot which Julio Cesar clutches to his bosom.
20 min: Brazil advance, with Dante on the ball on the left flank. The ball's switched to the right, where Maicon picks out Oscar. Benedikt Howedes sticks in a toe to rob him of possession.
19 min: With Marcelo galloping through the left side of the Germany penalty area, Philipp Lahm dispossesses him with a perfectly timed, splendid challenge, hooking the ball out for a corner. Marcelo goes to ground and Jerome Boateng throws a wobbly, accusing him of diving to try to win a penalty. A frenzied bout of finger-wagging ensues, before referee Marco Roddriguez restores order and the corner is taken. Taken very badly - Germany clear at the near post.
18 min: Maicon bursts up the right flank and attempts to get a cross into the penalty area. It's blocked. The ball breaks to Bernard, who wins a throw-in.
17 min: Kroos wins a free-kick for Germany over by the left touchline, just inside his own half. Bernard was the culprit there. Having started badly, Germany are very much in the ascendency now, controlling the tempo, which has slowed down since they scored.
16 min: David Luiz plays another long diagonal pass towards Hulk on the left flank. Germany clear, the ball comes back to David Luiz and he surges forward before threading the ball up the inside left towards Hulk again. He attempts to get a cross in, but is foiled.
14 min: This is end-to-end stuff but Brazil are leaving themselves wide open at the back.
13 min: That was quite remarkable. Germany won a corner through Sami Khedira and the ball was floated across the edge of the six yard box. Muller was completely unmarked and kept his cool to volley home, low and hard, with a side-foot from just outside it. The defending was shocking.
9 min: It's been anything but cagey or attritional thus far and now Germany go close. Sami Khedira attempts a half volley that hits Toni Kroos in the back while en route to goal.
5 min: I write a lengthy chunk of text detailing what a wretched start to the game Mesut Ozil has had and it disappears as I attempt to launch it. Ironic karma or what? Anyway, take it from me, the Arsenal man is having another shocker.
4 min: Germany enjoy their first period of sustained possession, attacking down the right flank. Thomas Muller gives the ball away and Fernandinho clears.
3 min: David Luiz plays a long raking pass down to Hulk, who attempts to square it for Bernard from the goal-line. Germany clear.
2 min: Bernard gets on the ball deep in Germany territory on the right touchline. He plays the ball forward to Luis Gustavo. He's fouled by Schweinsteiger, but the referee lets it go, The ball breaks for Marcelo, who shoots from outside the penalty area. Wide.
1 min: Oscar takes the corner, which is headed clear.
Germany kick-offwith their players togged out in their black and red striped shirts, black shorts and black socks. Brazil's players wear their yellow shirts, blue shorts and white socks. Brazil are quick out of the traps and win a corner, courtesy of Bastian Schweinsteiger's inability to keep the ball in play down by the corner flag.
Pre-match handshakes: Luiz and Philipp Lahm exchange handshakes and pennants, Senor Rodriguez tosses his coin and then they all pose for the pre-match photos. Assorted Brazilians pray ostentatiously.
Not long now: The teams march out of the tunnel, referee Rodriguez removes the official match ball from the ceremonial plinth and the German national anthem is played after the teams line up either side of the match officials. As soon as the opening bars of Brazil's anthem are played, David Luiz holds up a No10 shirt out of tribute to Neymar. That lad just cannot pass up an opportunity to raise his hands to the heavens. He and Julio Cesar hold the shirt for the duration of the anthem.
Semi-finals: Estadio MineiraoBelo Horizonte 08 Jul 2014 - 17:00 Local time
Brazil v Germany - line-ups ...
Brazil: 12-Julio Cesar; 6-Marcelo, 23-Maicon, 13-Dante, 4-David Luiz; 17-Luiz Gustavo, 5-Fernandinho, 20-Bernard, 11-Oscar, 7-Hulk; 9-Fred
Substitutes: 1-Jefferson, 2-Daniel Alves, 3-Thiago Silva, 8-Paulinho, 10-Neymar, 14-Maxwell, 15-Henrique, 16-Ramires, 18-Hernanes, 19-Willian, 21-Jo, 22-Victor
Germany: 1-Manuel Neuer; 16-Philipp Lahm; 20-Jerome Boateng; 5-Mats Hummels; 4-Benedikt Hoewedes; 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger; 6-Sami Khedira; 18-Toni Kroos; 8-Mesut Ozil; 13-Thomas Mueller, 11-Miroslav Klose
Substitutes: 2-Kevin Grosskreutz, 3-Matthias Ginter, 9-Andre Schuerrle, 10-Lukas Podolski, 12-Ron-Robert Zieler, 14-Julian Draxler, 15-Erik Durm, 17-Per Mertesacker, 19-Mario Goetze, 21-Shkodran Mustafi, 22-Roman Weidenfeller, 23-Chrisoph Kramer
Referee: Marco Rodriguez (Mexico)
Neymar’s absence is of course a huge blow but Brazil can still beat Germany in the World Cup semi-final without him.
The last few days have been inevitably dominated by the terrible news of Neymar’s injury and his personal drama. I do hope, though, that the Brazilian players have taken this time to actually think of something else. Saddened as they are at the loss of not only an amazing player but also a player who always stood out as an example of happiness and high spirits, they have to focus on the job lying ahead of them. I will not lie here: the absence of Neymar will make things harder for the Seleção in Belo Horizonte. Neymar is the kind of player that creates some problems for the opposition just by being on the pitch and without him Luiz Felipe Scolari will have to devise an alternative plan to take on Joachim Löw’s men.
Truth be told, Neymar had not played well in either of Brazil games in the knockout stages so far. More notably so against Colombia, when he basically had one shot at goal and was pretty removed from the bulk of the action by the time Juan Camilo Zúñiga took him out. I wasn’t very happy with the way the Seleção resorted to expecting Neymar to sort things out with individual moves. That is always a difficult strategy at such a high level. He scored four goals, of course, but it was worrying to see David Luiz and Thiago Silva hitting long balls to him instead of trying to work things through the midfield. But Neymar can always offer a great outlet for Brazil on the break and he would have been quite useful, to say the least, against Germany on Tuesday.
But I am bit surprised by the split in some reactions. Defeatism and excess of confidence are both wrong here. Brazil against Germany is like a football derby and it has all the ingredients to be an extremely tough match. True, the recent problems in the Brazil camp might have swung the pendulum a bit towards the Germans but I would be surprised if any of Löw’s players are actually rubbing their hands before this semi-final – funnily enough, only the second time these two teams will have met in a World Cup.
I personally think the recent events will be used by Big Phil to galvanise the Seleção spirit. There is a precious chance for him to rally his players towards a strong group performance, based on collective commitment rather than the expectation of individual moments. Brazil have reasons to feel reassured. Their collective game against Colombia was a considerable improvement in comparison to recent performances, although mainly in the first half. With all due respect to Colombia’s great World Cup run, the match against Brazil was always going to be different for them and they were considerably more nervous against the Seleção.
Germany will not treat Brazil like normal opponents either. There has always been a great deal of respect and admiration from them towards the Brazilians. That does not mean they will not try to go for the kill. This match is crucial for this German team and for their coach. The absence of trophies since 1996 hurts in a country with such a strong winning tradition and I understand Löw has been under a lot of pressure to deliver a title. He has assembled a very strong squad and if you like well-played football there is no way you won’t admire players like Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos, for example.
I went to the Maracanã for Germany’s game against France in the quarter-finals and the professional way the Germans played impressed me a lot. They took their chance in that set-piece with Mats Hummels and then resorted to sitting deep, in order to hit France on the break. André Schürrle could have killed the game had he been more accurate in front of goal. Even the veteran, Miroslav Klose, was running like hell. The way the Germans advanced using the midfield looks daunting and Brazil will certainly have to concentrate on disturbing their build-up and look out for opportunities to break. In this sense, Scolari will welcome the return, from suspension, of Luiz Gustavo. He has been one of Brazil’s best players in the tournament and also brings a lot of knowledge about the opponents, including the Bayern bunch.
Dante also knows a lot about the opponents and he is a natural choice to replace the suspended Thiago Silva, assuming the captain’s appeal against his yellow card is not successful. But Brazil will need an escape valve and I believe it demands the repositioning of Oscar. His switching to a more central role could give the Seleção more quality in midfield and from there Oscar can unleash Hulk, whose runs against Colombia could and should have resulted in at least another couple of goals. Brazil could deploy Bernard and use his pace to put pressure on the wings but Willian is an option more useful for defending and marking. Fred remains a massive concern and I think Scolari has given him enough time – five matches – to show something. But the manager is the one there watching the players almost 24 hours a day.
Last but not least, Brazil cannot forget they will be playing a World Cup semi-final at home with a crowd that will be willing to cheer them on immensely. It’s a special occasion that will demand a lot of heart. It’s up to the Seleção to oblige.